Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hello from Dangarsleigh

Just thought I would share one of the best parts of living in this part of the country. Up here we have lots of waterfalls, and with the southern oscillation index being what it is at the moment, lots of rain. Rainfall means great waterfalls, and here is Dangarsleigh Falls last week. Its about 12 kms from my place, and probably looking the best it's been in over 10 years. The waterfall is about a 120m drop into the gorge.

Friday, December 14, 2007

¿Qué es de la vida de Cocodrilo Dundee?

Cierto es que Paul Hogan (Australia, 8 de octubre de 1939) le debe su popularidad al personaje del cazador de cocodrilos que llega a la gran ciudad. Sin embargo, antes de la saga de Cocodrilo Dundee Hogan se hizo famosos en su país con su propio show televisivo (The Paul Hogan Show).

Además de la película de 1986 (que tuvo otras dos partes) a Hogan se lo vio muy poco en la pantalla grande. Uno de sus apariciones fue en Flipper, el film basado en la serie sobre el delfín amaestrado, en el que compartió cartel con Elijah Wood, muchos años antes de convertirse en Frodo.

También participó en el western Lightning Jack, en la comedia Almost an angel y en Strange bedfellows, su última producción de 2004.

En 1990 se divorció de Noelene, su primera esposa y con quien tuvo cinco hijos, y se casó con Linda Kozlowski, su pareja en las tres películas de Cocodrilo.

Feliz Navidad y feliz 2008 a todo el mundo!!!
El martes nos vamos para la patria temprano, asi que nos veremos en enero. If someone want a postcard from Spain, send me your address!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Presidenta habemus

Argentina has joined today the select group (?) of countries with elected female leaders. They are currently: Ireland, New Zealand, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Philippines, Mozambique, Liberia, Chile and India. Thus, of the 193 states with official recognition, 11 are ruled by women. It's still a long way to gender equality.

I think Cristina Kirchner is an incompetent crypto-fascist. But I hope from the bottom of my heart that she proves my wrong.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Health 'care'

I’m not particularly prone to criticize the countries that generously open their doors to a wanker like myself, and even less to sing the praises of my own 'fatherland', but this is worth posting. Clarissa had a bike accident on Saturday (she hit a lamp post) and her toe was badly swollen, so on Sunday afternoon we took a bus to the curiously named Calvary Hospital.

We arrived at 4:10 pm and everything went fine in the emergency room, she was examined, taken straight to X-rays and then told to wait to be called by a doctor. The waiting room was not too packed, the TV was showing a particulary unappropriate show, and a guy lying next to us was in terrible pain with his mother looking after him. Clarissa hadn’t had lunch so I headed to the cafeteria to get her something to snack and a coffee, but it was closed. Apparently Catholics take their Sundays quite seriously here. OK, how about the espresso machine in the corridor? 'Out of order'. Jesus H Christ.

The last bus going back to O’Connor passed at 7 pm, and we were still comfortably sitting there waiting. A little boy came with his parents, holding his arm, covered in blood and crying inconsolably. They told them to take a sit and enjoy the TV show (?). At 8:40 Clarissa was at last called in and the doctor gave his verdict: ‘broken toe’. That’s it, go home, get a good rest and don’t go around hitting lamp posts.

OK, just to put things into context, we are talking about a public hospital in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Some facts about the city:

Population: 325,800
Life expectancy: 82 years
Unemployment rate: 3 %
Annual per capita income: U$S 47,131
Public hospitals: 2
Population per doctor: 383

As compared to Corrientes, the last place where I lived in Argentina, and its second-poorest (!) capital city:

Population: 328,600
Life expectancy: 72 years
Unemployment rate: 6.8 %
Annual per capita income: U$S 3,964
Public hospitals: 5
Population per doctor: 189

I had to go to the public hospital several times there and the maximum waiting time in all cases was 45 minutes.

So, my question here is simple: WHAT THE FUCK???

Addendum: Lu Liang, my Chinese colleague from the lab, lived in Canada for some time, and she commented that the health system there is remarkably substandard, with waiting times of 5 hours or more in the emergency rooms of public hospitals. She even had a friend passing out in a waiting room after an 8-hour delay to see a doctor. The Canadian director Denys Arcand addresses this point in two extraordinary movies: Jésus de Montréal and Les Invasions Barbares. I'd better not get sick if I go to there next year (?).

Seriously, what’s wrong with these absurdly wealthy countries’ health care system?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Where are the boundaries Hermeto?

Hermeto Pascoal - Música da Lagoa
Enjoy it!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The news in Australia

Ham thieves leave festive greeting

Police are appealing for help as they investigate the robbery of 16 tonnes of ham and bacon from a warehouse in Sydney's north-west.

Sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, thieves broke into Zammit Ham and Bacon on Nirvana Road at Pendle Hill.

Acting Inspector Rod Ormes from Parramatta Police says they left the message "Merry Christmas" on the warehouse wall.

He says it's an unusual thing for a criminal to do.

"I certainly haven't seen a message left like that in my policing experience, no," he says.

"We're asking the public if they come across any Zammit meat products being sold at significantly reduced prices to contact Crime Stoppers or us here at Parramatta Police Station".


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Photography masters

Meet Japanese Maestro photographer Nakano Masataka. The top picture is from his first book 'T0kyo Nobody' (2000), which features a collection of snaps of Tokyo - completely empty of people and vehicles. Taken on an 8x10 inch camera, they are not digitally edited images, just patiently acquired during 10 years on days when everyone leaves town, such as New Years Day early in the morning.

His latest work is called 'My Lost America' and comprises a collection of images taken in NYC between 1983 and 1993, with the particularity of having the WTC in every single one of them.

The first image generates an ominous feeling which reminds me of one of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles - the whole of Mars was evacuated and one unlucky bastard was left behind. What would he do completely alone in the metropolis? I don't remember what he did, but wow, he was quite fucked.

The second one also leaves you thinking. How mighty and awe-inspiring do the Twin Towers look? And still, a couple of deranged cockmunchers could fly right into them and knock them down. Unbelievable.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Grand Theft Beer

This is the news story of the moment. Right about the time when the Dublin police is starting the traditional Christmas blitz to target drink-drivers, some BIG TIME pisshead sneaked in the legendary St. James's Gate Guinness Brewery with a truck, attached to it a fully-loaded trailer and drove away. The bounty? 450 kegs = 40,000 pints.

The Irish are not unanimous on their stance: whereas some are devastated by the loss of 180 kegs of Guinness Stout, others applaud the fact that the cunning bandit got rid of 180 Budweiser + 90 Carlsberg kegs.

If the story was not bizarre enough as is, when interviewed, the Guinness spokeswoman posed the rhetorical question: 'What could they possibly want with all that beer?'

Yeah, right. What could someone in Ireland possibly want with 40,000 pints?

My guess: chips?

PS: just read this on another blog, I think it's a worthy addendum.

'Please, 480 kegs missing in Dublin is like 480 barrels of oil missing in Iraq. Sure, something happened, but is it worth worrying about?'